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Annapolis Rock/Black Rock Cliff, MD

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
7.9 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
4.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
840 ft
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Parking on US40. 39.53555, -77.60408

The Annapolis Rock/Black Rock Cliff hike on the Appalachian Trail, is one of the most popular in Maryland, and for good reason. The views from both lookouts are spectacular on a clear day. From Annapolis Rock the vista is to the southeast and Greenbrier Lake, and from Black Rock Cliff a 180 degree panorama west.

Annapolis Rock is also a popular camping area, with a campground of 16 sites including 2 group sites. A campground caretaker is also on-site during the warmer months, and helps monitor the area and provide information to hikers. The Annapolis Rock Campground is a non-fee first come-first-serve location.

Annapolis Rock is not only a popular location for hikers, but also a favorite spot for rock climbers. Black Rock Cliff, 1.0 miles further north on the Appalachian Trail is the favorite of the two overlooks with many local hikers for its panoramic views and less traffic.

  • Mile 0.0 – From the parking area on US40 start down the old paved section of the connector trail. Turn left at the blue blazes for the 75yard walk down to the intersection of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and pedestrian bridge over I70.
  • Mile 0.1 – Turn right/north on the white blazed AT as it follow I70 and shortly passes beneath US40. This section of the hike is noisy with the traffic on I70, but shortly after passing beneath US40 the A.T. will turn right and start ascending the South Mountain ridge. At the ridge the trail turns back to the left and the noise of the traffic starts fading into the background.
  • Mile 0.5 – Pass through a utility clear cut and arrive at the 1st connector trail for the Pine Knob Shelter. Along with the shelter there are 2 large campsites suitable for multiple tents. After passing the 1st Pine Knob Cabin connector trail, pass the second in another 200 yards. From this point the A.T. will become significantly steeper for the next 0.5 miles.
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  • Mile 1.1 – At the ridge the A.T. will pass through several fern areas and reach the intersection of the Annapolis Rock connector trail.
  • Mile 2.5 – Turn left for the 0.2 mile decent to Annapolis Rock Cliff and camping area.
  • Mile 2.7 – From the Annapolis Rock Cliff return to the A.T.
  • Mile 2.9 – Turn left/north on the A.T. for 1.0 miles to the intersection of the Black Rock Cliff connector trail. The trail sign is not as evident when hiking from the south, but is located just before the A.T. begins a steeper descent.
  • Mile 3.9 – Follow the the Black Rock Cliff connector trail for 75 yards to the overlook. To return head south retracing your route back to the US40 connector trail.
  • Mile 7.9 – Arrive back at the US40 parking area.
Hiker Reviews For The Annapolis Rock/Black Rock Cliff Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 15, 2019
When we returned to our car after the hike, part of the exterior front door handle and the lock cylinder fell right out into the parking lot when we opened the door. (2016 Honda CRV. We never use key to open the door, so no wear and tear). Dealership said someone had tried to break into the car. Not sure exactly what happened, but beware of this parking lot seeing that other people have warned of break-ins too. (The lot was almost full, so we parked in the part close to Route 40 which is clearly visible from the road).

The hike itself was very nice after getting away from the noise of the highway. Accidentally misread the sign to Annapolis Rock and ended up at Black Rock Cliff. Great view! Another high point was seeing a copperhead on the trail.

By: Peter F Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 31, 2019
Wary of Brad's experience, we left nothing visible inside our car and parked amidst 40+ other vehicles. So many taking legal/illegal spots that we waited until a climber exited the trail to take her spot once depated. No damage done to any vehicles before and after trail hiking, 4 hours later.

Trail is well marked and was heavily populated, half of climbers came with a dog. Great vistas from Black Rock and Annapolis Rock. Only saw squirrels and spiders all day.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 1, 2019
Itís a great view and the perfect length and intensity for a last minute half day hike. BUT beware of the parking lot. Do not leave any valuables in your car. We and several other folks had windows smashed and bags snatched.

By: Henry Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, April 30, 2019
This was an incredibly amazing hike! With a group of people, I hiked up to the Annapolis Rocks campsite and was astonished by the view. The campsite was well-maintained and has a fantastic spring with delicious palpable water (though I would recommend filtering it). I camped here for two days and went rock climbing on Annapolis Rock and another one further down called Black Crack. Overall, I would highly recommend it to anybody seeking a hike for a view. However, camping here for a night is ideal, as the sunset is absolutely beautiful over the mountains in the distance!

By: Hiking Family Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 16, 2019
Right now the trail is 10% rocks 30% deep mud and 60% ice. That fact slowed us down quite a bit. I would imagine this hike would be perfect for a spring summer for my family. Or alone. Family= 1,3,5,7,36, "29"yr olds

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